Transatlantic Sessions 2015 – The Sage, Gateshead (UK)
Johnny Winter with the McCoys at Reading University (UK) was the first time that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up whilst watching a live gig. What a feeling, what a gig.
Goose bumps were first noticed on my body during a Riverboat Cruise going up the Mississppi River, watching the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Friends (John Lee Hooker, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Marcia Ball, plus Roomful of Blues horn section) at the 1987 Jazz & Blues Festival.
Dumbstruckness hit me at the Ryman for Emmylou’s final farewell performance with the Nash Ramblers in 1991.
Then, last night, I was sitting in The Sage, Gateshead for my annual fix of Transatlantic Sessions, the live version of BBC4 TV’s fusing of roots music from both sides of the big ocean that separates our two continents. Yep, last night, that’s when the tears started rolling down my face. This superb bunch of musicians that are assembled each year were, as always, awesome, but I then hadn’t factored in the Houston kid, who lifted the whole thing to a completely new level with the best ever version of “Till I Gain Control Again”. Rodney Crowell may have been the elder statesman of the invited bunch of guests, but accompanied by the effervesant Sara Watkins’s harmonising on his most known song, I found it impossible to quell the trickle down my cheek.
I may be nearer 70 than 60 years of age now, but attending live music concerts on a regular basis keeps me young. Then there’s the icing on the cake, which occasionally comes along to knock me off my feet. That pure talent and lifelong skills can totally affect my emotions and feelings. Bullseye or what.
So many thanks to Mr. Jerry Douglas and Mr. Ali Bain, the two emcees who ensure that the quality of the musicians is of the very highest order, especially when the special guests are of the calibre and standing of Rodney Crowell. Throw in Patty Griffin, Sarah Watkins, and the house band that included Tim O’Brien, Dirk Powell, Russ Barrenburg, Danny Thompson, Phil Cunningham, John Doyle and the others, plus a sensational English newcomer to me, John Smith, then a cold Monday Night on Tyneside can turn into a joyous and truly memorable occasion.